My Reading Time By George Stroh, Senior Pastor March 29, 2010
"But beyond this, my son, be warned; the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body." (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12)
Those of you who know me, know that I like to read. Just about every week someone recommends that I read a new book and almost every day I receive several email messages, newsletters or blogs that have been forwarded to me. These usually conclude with something like "It is vitality important that you read this and forward it to everyone you know!" I wish there was the same urgency about sharing the Gospel and encouragement to simply read the Bible.
Some new books and Internet material are certainly profitable and worth reading. I'm indebted to many gifted authors who have written books that have contributed to my greater knowledge, appreciation and love of God and His Word. However, it has been my experience that most new books and Internet material are a waste of my limited reading time. Some even promote heretical false doctrines distorting or, worse, contradicting the truth of God's Word. It is surprising that Christians so often naively accept what someone writes just because it is published or the author has some notoriety. Jesus said; "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15)
So how do I decide which new books and Internet messages are worth reading and which are not? First, I like to know a few things about the author and particularly, where he or she attends church. What is their local church's doctrinal theology and philosophy of ministry? You can learn a lot about someone just by knowing about their local church. This doesn't insure that what they have written is doctrinally sound and profitable, but with this information, I can usually quickly identify the obvious errors and false doctrines.
Of course everything we read should be sifted through the pure Word of God. I'm always leery when someone claims to have some special insight and "new" proprietary information that no one else has previously discovered. Sifting everything through the Bible means I need to spend most of my reading time just reading the Bible. It is like those who are trained to spot counterfeit currency. They spend most of their time carefully studying the real thing which makes them very good at recognizing the counterfeits.
Yes, I still read and recommend books and some of the material I receive via the Internet. Most of my reading, other than the Bible, is limited to Bible commentaries, biographies of Bible preachers and sermons from respected Bible preachers, both living and dead. However, it is the Bible, the Word of the Living God that should consume most of our reading time. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy; "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16) Maranatha!